What sort of help is needed?

What sort of help is needed ?
This will obviously depend on the problem encountered. It will also depend on geographical location and who is available. Individual requirements will also differ. So the following can only serve as a guide. Generally speaking, for medical problems consult your doctor first. For general information, Diabetes Australia or a Diabetes Centre in one of the hospitals near you may be able to point you to the right direction.

I have a foot ulcer

This is a medical problem and you should go to see your doctor immediately. Apart from treating it themselves, they may also seek the assistance of a podiatrist and/or a nurse to help with local treatment and dressing. The doctor might send you for some investigations such as x-ray and vascular tests. If the ulcer does not heal in a reasonable time, the doctor might refer you to a surgeon or a Diabetic Foot Clinic.

I have a foot infection

This is a medical problem and you should go to see your doctor immediately. If the foot is not very swollen, oral antibiotic treatment may be sufficient. If the foot is very swollen, hospital admission and intravenous antibiotic treatment may be required. Sometimes, it is necessary to have surgery to clean up the infected tissue.

I have pain in my feet

Your doctor should examine you to determine if this is due to neuropathy or peripheral vascular disease or some other coincidental foot problems. If it is due to neuropathy, either the general pracitioner or your diabetic doctor can prescribe medication, cream or other procedures such as acupuncture. If it is due to vascular disease, generally vascular tests followed by procedures such as angioplasy or by-pass surgery will be necessary.

I have a swollen foot but it is not painful

This may be the first manifestation of an Acute Charcot's joint. Prompt diagnosis and treatment is essential to prevent severe deformities. Consult your doctor immediately.

I need podiatry treatment

Unfortunately, podiatry treatment is not subsidised by the Government, so in most cases you will need to pay for the treatment. There is only a very limited availability of free podiatry treatment in public hospitals and community centres, however people with diabetes are often considered as a priority for service. You should discuss this with your local service providors. Your doctor, the local Diabetes Australia office or the diabetes educator of the local hospital, may also be able to point you in the right direction. The Podiatry Association in your state will be able to advise you of podiatrists in your area who have an interest in diabetic foot disease. Although the system is not perfect there are things you can learn to do yourself to improve your foot care and reduce your risk of problems occuring.

Where do I go to learn how to look after my feet ?

Your doctor can give you some information. He might also refer you to a diabetes educator or a podiatrist. For people at low risk, relatively brief information is all that is required. However, if after checking the nerve and circulation in your feet, your doctor found you to be at very high risk of developing foot ulceration, then you need a more detailed instruction with practical demonstration of how to look after your feet. This sort of special instruction is available in some hospitals. Again ask the local Diabetes Australia or diabetes educator to find out where such classes may be available.